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The Star and Ashtead Common

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The Star and Ashtead Common
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 02 Jun 2014 Walk rating : Rating:star1 The Star and Ashtead Common - pub walking guide in Surreystar1 The Star and Ashtead Common - pub walking guide in Surreystar1 The Star and Ashtead Common - pub walking guide in Surreystar0 The Star and Ashtead Common - pub walking guide in Surreystar0 The Star and Ashtead Common - pub walking guide in Surrey
Surrey, Leatherhead
Walk Type: Woodland
The Star and Ashtead Common
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot The Star and Ashtead Common - pub walking guide in Surrey boot The Star and Ashtead Common - pub walking guide in Surrey
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A 4 mile circular pub walk from The Star, near Leatherhead in Surrey. The Star is perfectly placed for exploring the adjacent common and on fine days there are gorgeous gardens and decking to enjoy some alfresco dining. The walking route explores the stunning Ashtead Common National Nature Reserve, with views across open countryside, large expanses of ancient woodland and pretty lakes along the way.

The route has just a few steady but long climbs and descents. Some of the paths (including those on the first stretch to the ponds) are relatively firm tracks with just some surface mud, but after this point the woodland paths and grassy rides can become fairly soft/muddy in winter and after periods of rain. There are no stiles or gates on route. You will be sharing many of the forest tracks with horse riders and cyclists. Dogs are welcome in the common as long as they are kept under control. Approximate time 2 hours.

The walk starts and finishes at The Star pub on the A243 Kingston Road, just three minutes north of Junction 3 of the M25. The Star has its own large car park. Approximate post code KT22 0DP.

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Walk Sections

Start to Chessington View
Start to Chessington View

Start point: 51.3267 lat, -0.3274 long
End point: 51.3326 lat, -0.3103 long

Leave the pub car park via the vehicle entrance (not the exit), and turn right along the gravel frontage of the pub. Cross over the Crown Estate side access lane and pass the bus stop. Just after this, cross over the main road using the designated crossing point with bollards. Keep right for a few paces and then take the first left, the tarmac access drive for D’Abernon House. This isn’t marked with a footpath sign but don’t worry, it is the formal access point for the woodland.

Keep ahead past the horse paddock on the right and pass alongside the vehicle barrier ahead. A few paces later you will reach a junction of paths with the City of London signs marking the start of Ashtead Common National Nature Reserve. Turn left onto the public bridleway (Ride 29) signed to Epsom Common. Follow this path for some distance, passing between a number of old oak trees.

Ashtead Common comprises 500 acres of ancient wooded common and is managed by the City of London Corporation. It is the largest of the commons managed by the City of London Corporation. One of the important features of the site is the collection of more than 2,300 ancient oak trees. The decaying wood is home to rare invertebrates. The woodland also has a rich collection of breeding birds including nuthatch, tree creeper, all three British woodpeckers, woodcock, sparrowhawk and tawny owl.

Views will open up across the open farmland to the left. A little way along you will pass a noticeboard marking the Rushett Farm View point. Simply keep ahead on the main bridleway. Eventually the path will lead you to a crossroads with another noticeboard, marking the Chessington View point (with a kissing gate on the left).

Chessington View to Stew Pond
Chessington View to Stew Pond

Start point: 51.3326 lat, -0.3103 long
End point: 51.3354 lat, -0.3031 long

Take a moment to enjoy the views over the gate to the left, across the open countryside. On a clear day, if you look just to the left of the central pylon ahead, you may be able to make out the tops of the rides within Chessington World of Adventures within the trees.

Keep ahead on the main bridleway still signed to Epsom Common and you will see a white cast iron post on the left (with the City of London red and white coat of arms). In fact you may have noticed a couple more of these posts on your journey so far, including one in front of the pub. These are the old Coal and Wine Tax Posts and they can be found in a ring around the edge of London, marking the old boundary of Greater London. After the Great Fire of London in 1666, a tax was introduced to raise money for rebuilding. The tax was levied on wine and coal sold within the city boundaries and the posts marked the point at which duty became payable.

At the next crossroads, keep ahead again still signed to Epsom Common. As you reach the next junction you will pass the marker for the start of Epsom Common. Keep straight ahead on the bridleway signed to Christchurch Road. The path will lead you down to a large pond on the right, Stew Pond.

Stew Pond to Ride 38
Stew Pond to Ride 38

Start point: 51.3354 lat, -0.3031 long
End point: 51.3322 lat, -0.3042 long

Continue ahead on the bridleway, signed as the Chessington Countryside Walk. The path swings right and then climbs steadily. Just before the track bends left, turn right onto the track signed as the Summer Horseride (note the closed/open sign here simply refers to whether the track is open to horse riders and does not apply to walkers). Follow the track downhill and then take the first path off to the right.

A little way along the dirt path becomes a stone path and leads you on a fenced walkway with the larger of the two ponds, Great Pond, to the left. Take a moment to enjoy the glorious views across the water. The pond was constructed by monks as a huge fish pond when Epsom Common was owned by the Abbey of Chertsey. At the far side of the pond, glance to the left and you will see a large sculpture of a dragonfly set on the bank.

Keep ahead to cross the bridge over the weir and join the path back into the woodland. Keep straight ahead at the small crossroads and follow the narrow path winding through this section of woodland for some distance. Stick to the main path, ignoring any smaller ones off each side. Eventually you will emerge to a T-junction with a main woodland track, Ride 38, back within Ashtead Common.

Ride 38 to Two Bridges
Ride 38 to Two Bridges

Start point: 51.3322 lat, -0.3042 long
End point: 51.3206 lat, -0.3089 long

Turn left along this main bridleway and follow it for some distance heading steadily downhill.

With easily accessible timber and freshwater, plus a defensible position in the local landscape, Ashtead Common has been occupied since prehistoric times. The common was a thriving centre for clay tile production in Roman times and the heavy clay soils meant that the site was managed as wood pasture instead of being developed for farming. Today the mosaic of ancient woodland, scrub grassland, meadow, ponds and streams means there is much to discover. Beetles, butterflies, birds, mammals and wild flowers abound.

Just after passing a City of London noticeboard on the right, turn right onto the Concessionary Ride signed to Ashtead Common. Over to the left you will see a few footbridges which cross the stream on the left, The Rye.

The Rye is a tributary of the River Mole and its corridor provides a diversity of habitats. It is home to a variety of insects, amphibians, reptiles and breeding birds. Five species of amphibian are found in the network of ponds, streams and ditches, including the great crested newt. Keep your eyes peeled for the tell-tale blue flash of a kingfisher.

At the first major junction (with an old metal vehicle gate on the right), turn left down the main wide track and it will lead you to a junction with a bridge out to houses ahead. Take the track immediately to the right of the bridge and follow this, with the houses visible through the trees on the left. Towards the end of this path you will pass a wooden footbridge on the left and then emerge to a junction of multiple paths, with two brick bridges to the left.

Two Bridges to End
Two Bridges to End

Start point: 51.3206 lat, -0.3089 long
End point: 51.3269 lat, -0.3276 long

If you look to the right you will see a choice of two wide grass rides. Take the left-hand of these two tracks heading into the trees, signed as Concessionary Ride 1. Follow this track (which can be a little boggy in places) steadily uphill. The track continues as a short section of stone path and then reverts again to a grassy ride.

Follow the grass track, Ride 1, for some distance. The ride eventually becomes a stone track again and leads you downhill. You will reach a signed junction with the back of a stables building ahead. This is the junction through which you entered the woodland at the start of the walk. Turn left signed to Kingston Road, pass alongside the vehicle barrier and continue to the road. Turn right for a few paces, cross over the road with care and then keep right to reach The Star for some well-earned hospitality.

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network The Star and Ashtead Common - pub walking guide in Surrey Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2014 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


4 responses to "The Star and Ashtead Common"

The dogs and I have just done this walk and we all really enjoyed it. It's nice and level and well signposted. The only bit where I nearly went wrong was "Stew Pond to Ride 38". End of para 1... take the first path off to the right. I followed this, but the track splits before it becomes the stone path that lead me to the fenced walkway with the pond. You take the left track at the fork before you get to the pond. I asked another friendly dog walker because I thought I had gone wrong, and he pointed me in the right direction. Otherwise I would have been a bit confused.
:-). Hope this helps.

By Justine on 2015-09-19 18:42:32

We tried this walk on my trusted Tramper all terrain mobility scooter. All went well until we got to the narrow path past the stew pond as we hit a fallen tree which barred my way (point 2-3). However it was no problem to retrace our steps and join Ride 38 to finish the walk as per the very excellent instructions.

The Star was very good and we enjoyed a pub lunch before and a drink after the walk. They were extremely friendly to us and our dog, who was given a bowl of water and dog treats. Dogs are allowed both in the bar and outside in the garden.

By Jules19 on 2014-07-23 17:06:08

Really enjoyed this walk! Quite relaxing and the pub staff at the end we're very nice! The dogs enjoyed this one a lot. Will definitely be going again.

By doug21 on 2014-09-29 18:37:25

Really pretty walk but got totally lost after stew pond. When you follow the summer horse ride, walk for quite a long way slightly uphill on a grassy track until you get to a crossroads of pathways. Then turn right and follow the path for a few minutes until it starts to bear left. At this point turn right following the sign for summer horse ride again. This should then put you back on track. It starts to go downhill. We really were totally lost!

By lisa68 on 2015-11-13 00:15:50

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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